Regular Season Ends With Loss

Lewis with three hits in finale

This was not the weekend Stanford was looking for to end the regular season. With possibly an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament hanging in the balance, the Cardinal suffered consecutive losses to lowly UC Davis. On Saturday, the Aggies blasted three home runs en route to sending Stanford to a disheartening 8-3 defeat. Here is a complete recap.

A couple of wins this weekend likely would have secured an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament for the Stanford Cardinal.  Instead, the lowly UC Davis Aggies surprised the Cardinal 3-0 Friday night at Sunken Diamond behind a three-hitter from ace Michael Potter.  Then, the Aggies returned home and handed Stanford an 8-3 defeat to complete the two-game sweep.  The Cardinal, after an impressive second half of the Pac-10 campaign to climb back into the postseason picture, fell flat this weekend against a team still making the transition to Division I competition.  Now Stanford has to wait and hope.  Was this sweep enough to knock the Cardinal out of the NCAA Tournament or can Stanford sneak in thanks to a solid RPI and an above .500 record versus Top 25 competition?  Stanford will find out their fate on Monday morning.

Saturday's contest saw three UC Davis batters connect for home runs to lead the offensive attack while Vince DeCoito came through with a memorable performance on the mound.  DeCoito, a senior right-hander making his final appearance in a Davis uniform, entered the game with a lofty 6.44 ERA and a .355 opponents average.  The Cardinal managed to get to DeCoito for 11 hits, but the starting pitcher always managed to avoid a big inning and thus kept the Aggies in front.

All total, DeCoito fired 8 2/3 innings with two walks and two strike outs.  Stanford threatened seriously early in the game striking for seven hits in the first three innings.  However, the Cardinal managed just one run and that allowed DeCoito to settle into a groove through the middle and late frames.

Ryan Seawell started the game with a triple into right field and immediately scored on a Grant Escue sacrifice fly.  Stanford struck for three more hits in the inning, but a caught stealing of Chris Minaker hurt the chances for a significant rally.  Jason Castro eventually flied out stranding a pair of runners on base.

In the second, Joey August led off with a single and eventually stole second, but the freshman was stranded in scoring position.  Then in the third, Escue singled to lead off while Lewis connected for a two-out single.  But again Castro was unable to bring home a run as his solid line drive was caught in center field by Michael Hernandez.

Trailing 5-1, the top of the fifth inning was especially painful for the Cardinal.  Seawell started things with a single which was immediately followed by a groundball single into right off the bat of Escue.  But Seawell tried to take the extra 90 feet on the hit and instead was thrown out by right fielder Aaron Hanke on a perfectly thrown ball to third base.  Stanford would have had two runners on and none out with the heart of the order due up.  Instead, a key first out was recorded before Minaker and Taylor were easily set down to retire the side.

It was an afternoon to forget for starter Nolan Gallagher.  After a complete-game victory last weekend at UCLA that saw the sophomore right-hander surrender just two runs, Gallagher was roughed up for a pair of key homers versus the Aggies. 

In the bottom of the first, #3 hitter Lukas Kirby smacked a solo shot to deep right field tying the game at 1-1.  After scoring a run on a two-out single in the bottom of the second, the Aggies knocked Gallagher out of the contest with three tallies in the third.  Tyler LaTorre and Kirby started the frame with singles before the clean-up man Hanke lofted a high fly ball to deep left center field that carried over the fence for a home run.  The blast gave UC Davis a 5-1 lead and ended Gallagher's afternoon.

Jeremy Bleich had an excellent long relief stint on the mound as the freshman fired 4 1/3 scoreless innings to keep the Cardinal in the game.  Bleich allowed four hits with no walks and two strikeouts.  He was pulled after allowing a one-out single in the bottom of the seventh inning in favor of Matt Manship.  Manship got out of the inning unscored upon, but then was roughed up for three runs in the bottom of the eighth - the first on a Kevin James solo homer (his first roundtripper of the year).

Stanford threatened mildly in the ninth when UC Davis second baseman Daniel Descalso committed a fielding error on what should have been a game-ending double play.  The misplay temporarily kept the Cardinal alive as pinch-hitter Jim Rapoport brought home a run with a bunt single.  Two batters later, Escue reached on an infield single to plate Stanford's third run of the afternoon.  But with the bases loaded and the potential tying run in the on-deck circle, Minaker struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch to end the game.

The Cardinal finish the regular season with a 30-25 overall record - their fewest number of regular season wins since 1993 (27-28 - the last time they didn't reach the NCAA Tournament).

Stanford     1 0 0  0 0 0  0 0 2   -   3  12   0
UC Davis     1 1 3  0 0 0  0 3 X   -   8  13   1

Stanford            POS   AB   R   H  RBI    BB  SO
Ryan Seawell         CF    4   1   2   0      1   1
Grant Escue          DH    4   0   3   2      0   0
 J.J. Jelmini        PR    0   0   0   0      0   0
Chris Minaker        SS    5   0   1   0      0   1
Michael Taylor       RF    4   0   1   0      0   0
Chris Lewis          2B    4   0   3   0      0   0
Jason Castro         1B    3   1   0   0      1   0
Joey August          LF    4   1   1   0      0   0
John Hester           C    4   0   0   0      0   1
Randy Molina         3B    3   0   0   0      0   1
 Jim Rapoport        PH    1   0   1   1      0   0

3B: Seawell
SB: August
CS: Minaker

                        IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Nolan Gallagher (L)    2.0   5   5   5   2   0
Jeremy Bleich          4.1   4   0   0   0   2
Matt Manship           1.2   4   3   3   0   2



UC Davis            POS   AB   R   H  RBI    BB  SO
Daniel Descalso      2B    5   1   1   0      0   0
Tyler LaTorre        3B    4   1   2   2      0   0
Lukas Kirby          1B    5   2   3   1      0   1
Aaron Hanke          RF    4   1   1   3      0   1
Michael Hernandez    CF    3   1   0   0      1   1
 Michael Jacobellis  CF    0   0   0   0      0   0
Jimmy Goetz          DH    3   0   1   0      0   0
Kevin James          LF    4   1   2   1      0   0
 Ryan Royster        LF    0   0   0   0      0   0
David Treat           C    3   0   0   0      1   1
Matt Dempsey         SS    4   1   3   1      0   0

2B: Descalso, James
HR: Kirby (4th), Hanke (4th), James (1st)

                        IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Vince DeCoito (W)      8.2  11   3   1   2   2
Nik Aurora             0.1   1   0   0   0   1



WP: Vince DeCoito (2-3)
LP: Nolan Gallagher (4-4)

Records: Stanford (30-25), UC Davis (18-34)


Notes:
* Despite the loss, Stanford did win nine of their final 13 regular season games.

* Minaker finishes the regular season with team-best totals in batting average (.346), doubles (17), home runs (11), and RBI (64).

* Seawell (.319), Taylor (.308), and Lewis (.307) also ended the regular season with batting averages over the .300 mark.

* Castro saw his 12-game hitting streak come to an end.

* Stanford managed just the three runs in this series.  UC Davis entered the weekend with a team ERA of 6.07.

* The NCAA Tournament Selection Show is scheduled for Monday morning at 9:30 A.M. (PDT) on ESPN.



PAC-10 UPDATE

                    Conf.    GB   Overall
Oregon State        16-6     -    39-13
Arizona State       13-10   3.5   35-19
UCLA                12-10   4.0   31-23
Arizona             11-12   5.5   26-28
USC                 11-12   5.5   25-32
Stanford            11-13   6.0   30-25
Washington State    10-13   6.5   36-22
Washington          10-13   6.5   35-25
California           9-14   7.5   26-27

Saturday's Scores:
* Arizona 6, at USC 0
(Trojans losing streak reaches nine games ... winner of Sunday's game will finish ahead of Stanford, the loser ends in a tie)

* at Washington 5, Washington State 4 (13 innings)
(Huskies rally for a run in 10th and then win with a single tally in the 13th ... neither team can pass Stanford in the standings)

* at Arizona State 9, California 3
(Sun Devils move into second place; starting to look good for hosting a regional)

* UCLA at Oregon State (cancelled due to rain)
(Game will not be made-up as series concludes Sunday with a single contest)

at UC Davis 8, Stanford 3


* - Pac-10 game

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